“A Human Tragedy,” a new interactive photo essay in the Houston Chronicle examines the stories of 24 Texas exonerees who served lengthy prison sentences for crimes they didn’t commit. The feature includes a photo gallery, audio interviews with some of the exonerees, a downloadable iPad book, an essay about the problem of wrongful convictions in Texas and more. Texas leads the nation in the number of wrongful convictions later overturned through DNA testing. Forty-seven people have been exonerated through DNA testing in the state.
Photojournalist Billy Smith II discusses his hopes for the project in a Q & A with Houston Chronicle Senior Reporter Tony Freemantle:
I’m hoping that in the 24 images you connect with them on a human family level. I mean these are people that have been locked away. These are fathers; these are sons. This can happen to you. You could be walking down the street one day and you fit a profile, you look like somebody, and your whole life can be turned upside down. I’m hoping that people can look at these images and see themselves.
View the full project
Hear some of the exonerees
tell their story in their own words
the Q & A and watch a video with the photojournalist
Read the essay
“A Human Tragedy” for your iPad